Sorry in advance for the unpainted army of Kevin's, and the "WIP" balsa terrain.
Note that Kevin is definitely in learning mode for 40k, and we took advantage of a lot of opportunities to "learn" from components of the game about the subtleties of unit placement, decision making, and the understanding of threat bubbles and how auras aren't just those things Straken emits ... it's about understanding why and when you move your Chimera 6" or 12", etc. etc.
I used a "silly" list to help accentuate the point, while he used a perfectly fine Strakenguard variant ... I had to proxy a few models b/c it isn't what I normally play, and I'll highlight what's what in the list ... the lists were:
- Colonel "Iron Hand" Straken (I have a Straken model, but haven't painted it yet, so I use a Catachan officer for him) + 2 bodyguards (due to model stretching, I proxied in 2 grey knights for these) + 2 meltaguns + regimental standard (I actually use the bret sorceress as my standard at all times, by intent) + medic + carapace + krak grenades
- Chimera w/ Extra Armor, Hull Heavy Flamer(proxied Demolisher, I don't own 8 chimeras)
- Commissar Yarrick (proxied Commissar model)
- 5 Stormtroopers w/ 2 Meltaguns - (proxied in 2 meltagun vets, and 3 members of my lizardman blood bowl team heh)
- 5 Stormtroopers w/ 2 Meltaguns - (same proxying as above)
- 5 Ogryns proxied in saurus lizardmen and a krox from the same blood bowl team)
- Chimera w/ Hull Heavy Flamer (proxied Demolisher, I don't own 8 chimeras)
- 6 x 10-man Veteran squad, 4 w/ trips melta, 2 w/ trips flamer; all with Chimeras
- 3 x separate units of Scout Sentinelx1 w/ Multilaser (CARNIFEX SENTINELS! My first paint job, don't laugh too hard)
- Straken w/ 2 melta, Standard, Medic, Carapace, 2 Bodyguards, Chimera
- 6 x trips melta vets, Chimera
- 2 x solo Vendetta
- 3 x solo Demolisher
So, first off ... terrain.
This might be a helper for NOVA Open prep, it might not - I don't know exactly how much terrain we'll be able to put on every table, but the PLAN is 25% coverage ... game intent more or less. Here's us making sure there's 25% terrain before we evenly distribute it (at the Open, the plan is for each table to have basically "identical" terrain regardless of which quarter or side you deploy on).
We rolled NOVA Open Primer #2 (Spearhead Deployment, 5 Objectives tiebroken by Quarters tiebroken by Victory Points). He won the roll and elected to go 2nd given the primary win condition and the lack of any real long range fire in my army (not that it would prevent me smoking up, but a lot of people overrate alpha strike against an opponent who can simple cover his units up behind things on turn 1 anyway, IMO). I didn't much care ... whatever chimeras were knocked out, those vets would be hanging out at the back objectives anyway.
Knowing he wouldn't steal initiative most likely (but not caring TOO much), I deployed along the edge of the 12" from center curve ... I wanted to put the pressure on with the Ogryns and Straken/Yarrick, and make him stay back and try to react / deal with it ... always put your opponent on their heels if you can, trying to react to you. The plan was for chimera casualties to let their disembarked survivors wander over to back objectives either way, so anticipated losses were built into the plan.
His deployment was a little wonky, a little too over-frightened of immobilization results moving around in the central terrain piece in his deploy zone. Here's our various deployments (for reference, I'm the painted army).
Mike Turn 1
I simply "reserved" the scout sentinels, not outflanked, b/c I didn't have an Astro and didn't want them on the far side of the board. Long edge near him would do. The storm troopers rather obviously were suicide deep striking - the list has no capacity to deal with things like vendettas if they simply stay back, or BA autolas preds, etc., so the suicide squads and sentis are purely built to distract and/or kill those things.
I scooted toward his "weaker" edge, with the terrain piece housing straken's chimera in between 2 sentis/1demolisher and the rest of his force. To save smoke for smoke launcher leapfrogging, I only smoked the front three chimeras, and hoped he'd "buy" the bait of encouraging one vendetta to move too far forward and take the unobscured shot on one of the back ones. Here's how it looked when I was done moving (grey dice are "smoke" ... later white dice, as I was using the grey ones).
Kevin Turn 1
He lays a bunch of very well-placed demolisher pie plates where he can, hitting rear chimeras with S10 +2dhighest and nicking side armor 10 with S5+2dhighest (which is why S10 large ordnance blasts rock). Unfortunately for him, I made cover saves for the most part, and the results were an immobilized chimera near my back black/grey building objective, a stunned chimera in front of it, and a shaken Straken chimera. Fine by me.
Mike Turn 2
The immobilized chimera decided its work was finished, and its vets hung out in it, waiting to get out and secure the rear objective in my deployment zone when game-end neared. It was one of the flamer squads, so I was cool with it.
Knowing he didn't have really a TON of long range firepower that he was going to want to throw at guardsmen, I hopped the red bandana dudes out of the stunned Chimera near my deployment zone and ran them into the area terrain nearby. The plan there was to discourage him from firing on the empty chimera and go for a more target rich zone, and to prevent losing any to an explosion if he did shoot that way. They could easily hop back in the Chimera later on if it was left unmolested.
I also got my other flamer squad out and ran it to cover the other "my side" objective adjoining my deployment zone and sent their Chimera (which had popped smoke in the prior turn) in the way of his demolisher and 2 chimeras on that side, empty. I again banked on him gunning for higher priority targets and basically ignoring chimeras that were empty of dudes. Not that I cared either way ... if he angled for the best melta/etc. shots on the empty one, it would "set him up" for my counter-moves perfectly.
Key developments here are that I killed both vendettas. He'd left the one on his side too out in the open, so the first suicide storm trooper team ganked it (and a sentinel arrived), and the other one had moved too close to my chimera bunch while trying to get an angled shot over the first turn chimera wall ... so it was an easy 6" move behind the building up there to pop it from hatch with the melta dudes inside. You can already see things going badly here ... I have no advantages in ranged firepower or anything, but he's now out of his two aces (vendettas), and my army is "fine."
Kevin Turn 2
His demolishers continue to find their mark, and he bangs up a bunch more of my Chimeras with multiple pens on multiple vehicles per shot. Still can't kill much, unfortunately.
He gets impatient on the flank I'm pushing hardest at, and sends one of his chimera teams 12" forward alongside the building and spins to disembark them into the former vendetta's crater.
On the other side, he sends a chimera over to deal with the storm troopers and douses them with a heavy flamer. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, DUDES. They killed the Vendetta, and then they died. *shrug* He potshot a ton of multilasers at the scout sentinel that was on his flank, failed to kill it, and of course that meant they weren't angling for side shots on chimeras across the board either.
His chimera kill team move on the other flank kills the chimera of MINE that just ganked the vendetta up there, and the explosion wounds ... TWO OF THE PASSENGERS. Who die. They fail their pin test but Straken's squad w/ Yarrick is within 6" and so re-roll and are fine.
Mike Turn 3
I continue to roll sideways along his flank, keeping his other chimeras out of the fight ... he's smart enough to understand that if he just tries to rush adjust them, they'll be a 6" move and melta away for me from safety. WTF, flanks in 40k, whoda thunkit. I move up the formerly stunned Chimera, keeping it empty and getting the red squad safely behind it but still in "anti-demolisher formation." They also wave giant flags of "THERE'S NOTHING TO SEE HERE." Another scout sentinel moves on, and the first one moves up to try and charge / kick the chimera that shuffled over to flame the first storm troopers.
On the strong flank, a couple of chimeras (including Straken's, which in hindsight was pretty dumb) move over to heavy flame his suicide squad, and my own vets move up to melta the chimera they rode in on. Guys at the top objective move up to shoot some shotguns at the squad of dudes in case they live through two heavy flamers (which they do, before being gunned down by the forward thinking shotgunners). One of the meltavet chimeras is able to get its hatch within 6" of that side's lead demolisher just barely (a miscalculation by Kevin), and nukes it.
Even though proxied by a CARNIFEX OF DOOM, the Sentinel fails to hit the Chimera and prepares to spit in the face of meltafire. My words of "you're only 35 points it doesn't matter" don't seem to make the pilot feel any better.
Kevin Turn 3
Kevin's demolishers find their mark more; they de-weaponize one of my last embarked vet chimeras in center, blow up another (dumping the 4 survivors out to camp on the center objective), and various other fire kills the two scout sentinels. Straken's chimera dodges multilaser fire aplenty, and the disembarked meltavet squad behind the top building aren't shot at (b/c there's nothing to shoot at them). Similarly, with demolisher fire concentrated on the bulkier mass of chimeras taking cover in the center, the south chimera w/ the trailing vet squad is ignored mostly. At this point my plan has almost come to fruition; if I can get rid of the last 2 demolishers, I can merrily "trade" straken squads, and bullrush his center with the Ogryns ... the goal here is not to table him, but to keep him hemmed in and struggling until the game is out of time and I'm sitting on 4 / 5 objectives while his survivors try to bludgeon out.
Mike Turn 4
Straken and the disembarked vets up at the top move forward and nuke his last upper vet squad's chimera, disembarking them. One empty chimera (the one that dropped the top flamer vet squad off long ago) + the deweaponized vet-toting chimera run up center right in front of Straken, setting up a plan to use movement ranges / threat bubbles to prevent him getting the charges off he'd like to / needs to. This is just move block time, and "shoot at the stuff I don't care about anymore b/c you have to" time. The south vet squad that's been wandering up behind its earlier-stunned chimera hop in, and it rolls 6" right in front of the center demolisher. The 2nd storm trooper squad arrives and drops right next to the last demolisher. The final sentinel wanders on and hides, waiting to charge a disembarked vet squad later if it can, or contest the south objective.
All goes according to plan. Straken and disembarked vets up top kill last chimera up there. Random multilaser fire shakes Kevinstraken's chimera in the center, meltavets down bottom blow up center demolisher, and suicide stormtrooper squad #2 blows up last demolisher. Ogryns are moved up as well, btw, their chimera is behind the "suicide" leaders ... again, now that the demolishers are gone, the Ogryns are stubborn and within 12" of Straken's regimental standard, have 15 T5 wounds that I'm going to keep in cover, and opponent's strength 10 weaponry is gone. They don't have to win ... they just have to be nigh on impossible for him to get rid of in time, and he's gotta get through 3 chimeras and 2 vet squads there as well, with straken bearing down and a disembarked vet squad up top, plus a storm trooper squad and a sentinel coming from the bottom. Threat overwhelmed yet?
His army could still "beat" mine at this point ... 40k is not a dice game if you can maneuver your opponent into a place where the dice no longer matter. Don't take too much from a game between a veteran and a rookie that's built to educate the rookie, but you'd be surprised at how many veteran players can be easily outmaneuvered b/c they spend their time just rolling dice and trying to get good "shots" off.
Kevin Turn 4
Kevin does what he basically has to. Unfortunate rolls up top for moving through cover; Straken's chimera immobilizes itself, and his vet squad moves 1" ... the rest of his squads stay back in their Chimeras and potshot away. Ogryn chimera is shaken, center vet chimera dies (and dudes inside are killed down to 2 fellas and break with a rr'able 7), empty suicide top chimera dies, stormtroopers die. As intended basically. Ogryns are healthy and ready to move, bottom vets are in-tact although their chimera is shaken, north vets are ok, straken and his chimera are fine.
Mike Turn 5
We down our beers and decide "last turn" due to hunger and apparent ending incoming.
Ogryns move forward into cover and get in the way, bottom vets get out and move up and kill (but sadly just wreck) the lead chimera, keeping the occupants out of ogryn charge range. Straken gets out and positions himself so that he's ~12" away from the edge of the other straken's chimera, and pots it with a pair of meltagun at-range shots. It's just a wreck, but it's plenty ... without perfect through-cover moves, Kevinstraken is not going to be able to charge Mikestraken, and that's all that matters at this point.
Top Kevinsquad gets nuked by straken's chimera's heavy flamer and small arms fire from the disembarked top vets. Kevin is now down to 3 chimeras with dudes in them, 1 disembarked and banged up squad, and disembarked "out of range of everything" Kevinstraken, and it's bottom of Turn 5 coming up.
Kevin Turn 5
Kevin does what he can ... he gets everybody out, can't get to the ogryns b/c they're wrapped by the suicide vet squad, his straken gets a 2 and a 1 on first attempt at getting to mine (ending that attempt), and that's basically that. 40 of Kev's veterans annihilate the everliving bejeesus out of my front vet squad, along with a bunch of flamers, and they wound an Ogryn. His Straken fires some angry parting shots at mine, killing a bodyguard.
Game set match, 3 objectives to 0, 3 quarters to 1, lots of victory points to not very many. Kevin learns a lot, hopefully some less experienced readers might also. Enjoy your first glimpse at our printed NOVA Open ceramic objective markers as well ... you'll all get a few at the Open!
PS - Drink Dragon's Milk, the NOVA Open tournament organization crew approves:
Me apologizing for the messy basement while drinking Dragon's Milk:
Kevin just ... um ... drinking Dragon's Milk: